Four medics tell their 'terrified' stories from coronavirus frontline

Four medics tell their ‘terrified and lonely’ stories from the front line battling deadly coronavirus and plead for public to stay at home while they are ‘putting themselves in danger’

  • The latest issue of Grazia is on sale today and available to order by clicking here 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Four frontline NHS workers today revealed how coronavirus has left them feeling ‘terrified’ and is causing ‘heartbreaking loneliness’ to patients in Britain.

Doctors Janitha Gowribalan and Rosena Allin-Khan, paramedic Sarah Blanchard and nurse Richenda Browne all spoke out about their work fighting the pandemic.

They echoed Government calls for the public to ‘stay at home’ while they put themselves in danger to help patients, with 25,150 testing positive in the UK so far.

Dr Gowribalan told Grazia magazine there was a ‘sense of uncertainty’, and told of making quick ‘lifesaving’ decisions with one patient including inducing a coma.

The doctor at Whittington Hospital in Archway, North London, also told how she and colleagues were ‘dealing with something we don’t yet really know about’.

Meanwhile Dr Allin-Khan, who is also an MP, said she was ‘terrified of spreading the infection to the people I love’ and spoke of patients arriving ‘severely breathless’.

Ms Blanchard told of ‘watching a person struggle for air’, while Ms Browne called on the Government to ‘prioritise getting us more protective equipment’. 

Grazia editor Hattie Brett said: ‘This week’s issue is our attempt to say thank you to the NHS and let their workers send a clear message to us all.

‘The cover shoot was like none I’ve ever worked on; shot in a matter of minutes in the car parks of NHS hospitals, maintaining social distancing.’ 

This is what the four medics had to say about their work on the NHS frontline:

DR ROSENA ALLIN-KHAN

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan is the Labour MP for Tooting in South London and an A&E doctor, who decided to return to healthcare when the coronavirus crisis began.

She is now juggling hospital shifts alongside her work as a full-time politician, and told Grazia: ‘I’m terrified of spreading the infection to the people I love.’

Dr Allin-Khan said she had seen a previously healthy 33-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman brought into her hospital – showing the virus can affect anyone.


Dr Rosena Allin-Khan is the Labour MP for Tooting in South London and an A&E doctor

Dr Allin-Khan was also pictured in hospital on the ITV programme Good Morning Britain today

She added: ‘More and more patients are arriving severely breathless and terrified. They can’t even have relatives by their side because the virus is so contagious.

‘One of the hardest things is having to tell loved ones to say goodbye at the door to A&E, because they could risk their own life by holding their partner or parent’s hand.’

Dr Allin-Khan also told how NHS workers are ‘worried’ about fast rises in the death rate, amid a ‘huge sense of sadness and trepidation’ among her colleagues.

DR JANITHA GOWRIBALAN 

Dr Janitha Gowribalan, 35, is an anaesthetist and intensive care doctor at Whittington Hospital in Archway, North London.

She told Grazia how she got the bus in for her night shift at 7.45pm, and helped a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions who was struggling to breathe.

Dr Gowribalan said: ‘We have to quickly make lifesaving, unavoidable decisions to induce a coma and place him on a ventilator. He’s frightened and asking for us to ring his wife and children.


Dr Janitha Gowribalan, 35, is an anaesthetist and intensive care doctor at Whittington Hospital

‘He’s struggling to speak through his tight-fitted mask but, if he takes it off, his oxygen levels will plummet. It’s upsetting telling him it’s not possible for us to call his family now.’

She added that there was a ‘sense of uncertainty’ on the intensive care ward, and medics were ‘dealing with something we don’t yet really know about’.

Dr Gowribalan also said they had all the equipment they need, but it can take a team up to 20 minutes to put on gowns, hats, gloves, goggles and masks.

RICHENDA BROWNE

Richenda Browne, 29, is a senior staff nurse in the emergency department at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

She has urged the Government to prioritise getting NHS workers more protective equipment, saying: ‘Healthcare workers are the most precious commodity the country has right now.’

Ms Browne added that she is finding it upsetting to help families who cannot be together when one of them is dying, but must be blunt about the health risks.


Richenda Browne, 29, is a senior staff nurse at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

She told Grazia: ‘I stay strong for my patients at work, but at home, on rare days off, I process everything.

‘We need to think of innovative ways for people to communicate with patients in isolation, such as using video calls to say goodbye.

‘I’m also finding it challenging to show empathy through protective equipment and masks – I rely so heavily on my facial expressions.’

SARAH BLANCHARD 

Sarah Blanchard, 27, is a paramedic in Essex, and told of her heartbreak after seeing previously healthy patients collapse and die.

She told Grazia: ‘I couldn’t sleep last night. My last call of the evening was a 43-year-old woman who, three days earlier, had been healthy.

‘After having a cold and a temperature for a few days, she collapsed. Her husband called 999 but, by the time we ran in, her heart had stopped and she had died.’


Sarah Blanchard, 27, is a paramedic in Essex, and told of her heartbreak at the coronavirus

Ms Blanchard said that seeing the loneliness the pandemic is causing is ‘almost as heart-breaking as watching a person struggle for air’.

She told how she is also finding it hard to keep her distance from ‘panic-stricken’ patients being taken to hospital in the back of an ambulance.

Ms Blanchard also revealed some elderly people are calling 999 amid fears they cannot breathe, but when paramedics arrive they are alone and too scared to leave the house.

The latest issue of Grazia is on sale today 

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The 8 tips to sleep better and beat coronavirus insomnia – The Sun

FROM the constant scroll of coronavirus news updates to the fear of empty supermarket shelves – many people are currently plagued with insomnia.

And it's not surprising, given the uncertainty surrounding the unprecedented situation we're currently in and the fact our lives have dramatically changed.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

However, a night of tossing and turning can not only leave you feeling sluggish and bleary-eyed – but, in the long run, it can impact on your physical, mental and emotional health too.

And while there is currently no life hack that stops you from getting coronavirus, we do know that sleep is essential in helping our bodies stay healthy.

This is why, more than ever, we all start making a few changes to make sure we're at our top form each day as we face another day in lockdown.

Here, we take you through some of our top tips to help you drift off into the land of nod and beat coronavirus insomnia…

1. Ditch your phone

Many of us will be glued to our phones at the moment – whether it's to keep up to date with the latest coronavirus news or to stay in touch with our friends and family during lockdown.

However, phones or tablets that emit blue light have been shown to disrupt melatonin levels – the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle.

This is not just to get a good night's kip – studies show a connection between overuse of phones and depression and anxiety.

She says: "Information overload and constant connection can negatively impact your mood.

"While it might be tempting to cuddle up with your iPad at the moment, make sure you allow your brain to switch off in the evenings.

"Avoid social media accounts and emails for 90 minutes before bedtime. Instead read a book, listen to relaxing music and have a bath using relaxing essential oils.

"A regular wind down routine like this will reduce feelings of anxiety and allow your mind to relax; making sure you get a good night’s sleep and preparing you for the day ahead."

2. Stay cool

You might feel like having a warm, cosy house is one of the only comforts at the moment – but this can actually disrupt sleep.

This is because central heating systems dry out the mucous membranes, making you more thirsty during the night.

Dr Neil Stanley, ex-chairman of the British Sleep Society, says the optimum temperature for a good night is 18C or lower.

We need to lose around 1C of our internal body temperature, which sits at around 37C – to drift off.

If you're in a room that's too warm, your body can't dump that excess heat – and that means that your sleep will be disturbed.

Turn the heating off in your bedroom and instead use duvets, blankets and breathable bed linen to help regulate your body temperature.

3. Be careful with coffee

We're all guilty of knocking back coffee throughout the day to keep us going – especially while we're trying to keep ourselves going while working from home.

However, time is of the essence when it comes to your caffeine hit – as if you drink it too early or too late in the day it can stop you sleeping.

Dr Sarah Brewer, a registered doctor and nutritional therapist, believes that most of us are drinking coffee at the wrong times of the day – from our first cup (which is too early), to our last (which is too late).

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She said: "Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world and mainly works via adenosine receptors in the brain.

"This produces an alerting effect by increasing the release of some brain chemicals. Caffeine increases focus and reduces the perception of fatigue.

"By blocking adenosine receptors, it prevents the relaxing responses produced by adenosine and interferes with your ability to wind down and sleep.”
She recommends that you have your final cup of coffee no later than 5pm – although chronic insomniacs might want to stop the caffeine consumption at lunchtime.

4. Make kids sleep on their own

Lots of parents will be spending 24/7 with their kids at the moment – after the Prime Minister shut schools to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

But this doesn't give them an excuse to cuddle up in bed with you, and this may actually be detrimental to yours – and their – sleep.

Not only will their wriggling likely keep you up, letting a child sleep with you can stunt their development.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum recommends giving your child a nightlight if they can't sleep in their own room.

She says: "Soothing nightlights can be a big help for anxious children who are scared of the dark and come though to escape it.

"Choose one that plays soft music and dreamy patterns to aid their sleep."

According to the above chart posted on Lifehacker, children should go to bed by a certain time… and it all depends on when they woke up.

5. Don't eat before bed

If you've managed to get some good grub during your once-a-week trip to the supermarket or a tasty takeaway that was left on your doorstep – make sure you don't eat it right before bed as this can really upset the body's sleep cycle.

Experts say you should avoid eating within three hours of bedtime to "avoid indigestion, acid reflux and even nightmares".

Helen Bond, registered dietitian, recommended the best snacks, including vegetable sticks with tzatziki, toast with salt nut butter and popcorn if the late-night munchies hit.

She told The Sun Online: "It’s best to avoid snack foods that are highly processed or refined.

"As well as being high in saturated fat, sugar and/or salt, they’re often low in nutrients and loaded with calories, and very moreish which makes it harder for us to control our weight."

6. Avoid booze

For lots of people, a glass or two of wine, or a sip or two of brandy before bed will be the great way to celebrate the end of a week in lockdown.

However, this might hinder your sleep regime because alcohol blocks tryptophan – an amino acid that helps you sleep – from getting to the brain.

Professor Malcolm von Schantz, from the University of Surrey, says: "Alcohol has a weird effect in that it makes it easier to fall asleep, but it makes it harder to stay asleep and it affects the quality of our sleep."

7. Shower at 8.30pm

A recent study has found that taking a warm shower 90 minutes before bed can help people nod off 50 per cent faster – and increase their total sleep time by 15 minutes.

This is because hot water dilates your blood vessels, improving your skin’s ability to lose excess heat.

And this helps your body to reduce its core temperature – a process that is key to falling asleep easily.

The researchers, from the University of Texas in Austin, said: "The temperature cycle leads the sleep cycle and is an essential factor in achieving rapid sleep onset and high efficiency sleep."

With 90 minutes before bed time being the prime time for a shower, that means you should be hopping in the shower at about 8:30pm.

Why that time? Taking a shower at 8:30 means you will be in bed and asleep by 10pm.

8. Shut pets away

There's nothing more comforting than cuddling up to your dog or cat in bed at the end of the day.

However, they can rob us of those vital zzzzs – not just because they fidget about, but also because of fur shedding.

On top of this, sleeping with a furry friend can also aggravate allergies or asthma in those susceptible to it.

Dr Ramlakhan says: "While pets can seem like a great bedtime companion, they are bound to disrupt our sleep patterns in the long-term, despite how soothing it may be to have them in the bedroom with us.

"We must avoid pets getting into the habit of sleeping in our beds with us as best we can.

"And ensure they have their own place to sleep, as well as being groomed regularly to reduce fur shedding which can also be a nuisance."

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Flu symptoms could be masking signs of coronavirus, docs warn – The Sun

FLU symptoms could be masking signs of coronavirus, doctors have warned.

Research suggests that around one in five people with Covid-19 may also be infected with other respiratory viruses.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The preliminary analysis from Stanford School of Medicine also found that one in 10 people who went to A&E and were diagnosed with a common respiratory virus also tested positive for coronavirus.

Nigam Shah, associate professor of medicine at the medical school, said: "Currently, if a patient tests positive for a different respiratory virus, we believe that they don't have Covid-19.

"However, given the co-infection rates we've observed in this sample, that is an incorrect assumption."

The team say that accurate and rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is needed to identify those who are infected and slow the spread of the infection.

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They hope their findings, published on Medium, will help medical professionals understand that patients who show signs of a respiratory virus may also have coronavirus.

Dr Ian Brown, a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine who led the research, said: "Hospitals don't have unlimited access to Covid testing.

"In some cases, a patient with respiratory symptoms may first be tested for a non-Covid virus.

"If there is a diagnosis of influenza or rhinovirus, or other respiratory viruses, a hospital may discharge the patient without Covid testing, concluding that the alternative diagnosis is the reason for the symptoms."

Dr Brown and his colleagues analysed 562 people recently tested for Covid-19 at Stanford Health Care's Marc and Laura Andreessen Emergency Department.
They found that 49 of those people tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2.

Of the 562 people, 517 were also tested for the presence of other common respiratory viruses, such as influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, adenovirus and several types of pneumonia.

The research showed that 127 received a positive result for one of these other respiratory viruses.

Of the people tested for both SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses, 11 people —or about 22 per cent of the coronavirus cases — were found to be co-infected with both kinds of viruses.

Other signs

It comes as experts say that a loss of taste and smell could be the first sign of coronavirus – and could mean you caught the illness just hours before.

An increasing number of people are reporting the loss of the two senses, despite it not being a major symptom confirmed by Public Health England.

Currently, the only two official symptoms people are suppose to self-isolate for are if they have a new, continuous cough or a high temperature.

Anyone with either symptom must then stay at home for seven days, and the temperature is back to normal.

Doctors are now warning that suddenly being unable to taste or smell anything could be one of the first signs of the virus.

British Rhinological Society President Claire Hopkins said: “I have personally seen four patients this week, all under 40, and otherwise asymptomatic except for the recent onset of anosmia — I usually see roughly no more than one a month.

“I think these patients may be some of the hitherto hidden carriers that have facilitated the rapid spread of Covid-19.

“Unfortunately, these patients do not meet current criteria for testing or self isolation.”

Dr Tony Narula, a past president of ENT UK, said that people will often get both senses back within four to six weeks.

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Coronavirus does spread through the air and lingers in rooms, study

Coronavirus does spread through the air and lingers in rooms long after patients have left, study finds

  • US researchers found highly contagious bug lurking in air inside patients’ rooms 
  • Virus had also spread into hospital corridors where staff were coming in and out
  • Coronavirus has now infected 785,282 people and killed almost 38,000 patients
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The killer coronavirus can spread through the air and remain contagious for hours, another study has suggested.

US scientists found high levels of the bug lurking in the air in rooms long after patients had left.

What’s more is that traces of the coronavirus were also discovered in hospital corridors outside patients’ rooms, where staff had been coming in and out.

The University of Nebraska researchers behind the study say the finding highlights the importance of protective clothing for healthcare workers. 

It follows a wealth of studies that have suggested the highly contagious disease does not just spread via droplets in a cough or sneeze.

Scientists around the world are scrambling to understand how the virus, which has now infected 785,282 people and killed almost 38,000, sheds and spreads.

The killer coronavirus can spread through the air and remain contagious for hours in patients’ rooms, another study has confirmed. Pictured: An Indian Nurse arranges beds of at Civil Hospital in Nagaon District, Assam

Traces of the coronavirus were discovered in the hospital corridors where staff had been coming in and out, highlighting the need for protective equipment in hospitals. Pictured: Healthcare worker Vanessa Chang poses for a photo in the Coronavirus screening clinic at Cabrini private hospital in Melbourne, Australia

The latest study, which has not been peer-reviewed by other scientists yet or published in a scientific journal, took samples from 11 patients’ rooms after they had been placed in isolation following a diagnosis.

The researchers found viral particles in the air both inside the rooms and in the hallways outside of the rooms. 

Their finding suggests people may be able to contract the bug without ever being in direct close proximity to an infected person.

The study’s authors said this highlights the importance of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Shortages in the UK have meant NHS workers cannot get their hands on PPE, with some staff resorting to buying their own from DIY stores.  

Lead author James Lawler, an infectious diseases expert at the Nebraska University, said in a statement: ‘Our team was already taking airborne precautions with the initial patients we cared for.

Scientists around the world are scrambling to understand how the virus, which has now infected 785,282 people and killed almost 38,000, sheds and spreads


A picture of brave nurse wearing just a basic apron and gloves to protect herself from coronavirus amid a global shortage of protective equipment – when what staff should be wearing is all the kit on the right

PATIENTS INFECTED WITH THE VIRUS ARE MOST CONTAGIOUS BEFORE THEY GET SEVERE SYMPTOMS

Patients infected with the killer coronavirus shed large amounts of the virus before severe symptoms appear, a study has shown.

And people continue to remain contagious even after they feel better, researchers found.

The German study – one of the first coronavirus studies to have been conducted outside China – confirms the theory that people can spread the virus before they even know they are infected.

But it also suggests they can spread it after they recover from the infection.

Researchers from the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology in Munich took samples from the nose and throat of nine COVID-19 patients. 

Results showed the samples had a very high viral load when the subjects were only showing minor symptoms, such as fatigue or a cough..

‘This report reinforces our suspicions. It’s why we have maintained COVID patients in rooms equipped with negative airflow and will continue to make efforts to do so – even with an increase in the number of patients.

‘Our health care workers providing care will be equipped with the appropriate level of personal protective equipment. Obviously, more research is required to be able to characterize environmental risk.’ 

The researchers also found traces of the bug on commonly used items such as toilets, adding to the theory that the virus can spread on surfaces.

Fears the virus can survive on surfaces have existed since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, last December.

England’s chief medical officer has warned people can get infected by touching any contaminated surfaces and then touching their face.

Professor Chris Whitty said the coronavirus can stay contagious on hard metal or plastic surfaces like door handles or handrails for as long as three days. 

It comes after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) yesterday revealed there are medical staff working to save lives and turn the tide in Britain’s war with coronavirus that have no access to basic protective clothing at all. 

Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, has blasted the ‘unacceptable’ levels of masks, gloves and aprons in some hospitals and care homes.

Whistleblowers in the NHS say they have been ‘hiding’ safety equipment for their next shifts and others have gone off sick fearing they will fall ill if they don’t get away from work.

Dame Donna’s warning based on worried emails and phone calls from nurses came as horrifying pictures of unprotected staff on the frontline emerged today despite new Government guidance making it clear that anyone within 3ft of coronavirus victims must wear full PPE.

She said: ‘I am hearing from nurses who are treating patients in Covid-19 wards without any protection at all. This cannot continue. They are putting themselves, their families and their patients at risk.

‘Every minute we wait is a minute too long. All nursing staff, no matter where they work, must feel safe. We need action, we need equipment, we need it now’.

She added: ‘The Government is finally prioritising Covid-19 testing for NHS staff, including social care, but it is completely unacceptable that weeks into this crisis there are colleagues in all settings – hospitals, community or care homes – who have not been provided with personal protective equipment.

‘As the professional trade union representing potentially the largest group of affected workers, the RCN has said repeatedly that we will not accept anything less than aprons, gloves and masks for all staff, in all settings. But this is a minimum – and that is why we are so disappointed even that level of protection has yet to be provided’.

Public Health England today issued stricter guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) when within three feet of a coronavirus patient 

NHS medics must wear full protective equipment if they come within three feet of a coronavirus patient, the government warned today, as shortages of the gear saw a brave nurse forced to dress in just an apron and gloves.

But numerous medical staff including doctors and nurses have expressed serious concerns about a lack of PPE in NHS hospitals.

One described how staff are ‘hiding’ equipment out of sheer desperation.

Some workers are saying they are sick as they fear the provisions are inadequate, another said.

Another doctor compared the situation to sending a soldier to war without the necessary equipment while a junior doctor said it feels like it is ‘inevitable’ that they will contract the virus due to a lack of PPE

Public Health England has issued stricter guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE), making it a requirement to wear a face mask, gloves, an apron and eye-protection as a shield against infectious airborne droplets.

A global shortage of the equipment medics and carers need to protect themselves against Covid-19 have led to shortfalls in the UK, with warnings the lives of thousands of NHS staff are being put at risk.  

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?

What is the coronavirus? 

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. 

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). 

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’ 

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat. 

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’  

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die. 

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person. 

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.

Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world. 

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.   

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.   

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they’re tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.

However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.

Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.

Can the virus be cured? 

The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?   

The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’. 

Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

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Lockdown in luxury: £140m superyacht spotted moored off Dorset

Lockdown in luxury: Billionaire Russian oil baron’s superyacht worth £140million and measuring 272ft in length is spotted moored off Dorset with those on board ‘self-isolating’

  • It is not known whether the owner, Alexander Dzhaparidze, is on board the yacht in Poole Quay, Dorset
  • The 272ft vessel does have people on board and they are said to be self-isolating amid the Covid-19 outbreak
  • The luxury yacht, worth £140m, has a pool, jacuzzi and an indoor cinema across its five decks  
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A luxurious superyacht worth an eye-watering £140million has been spotted moored off the south coast, with the inhabitants on board confirmed to be self-isolating amid the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Here Comes The Sun’ measures a whopping 272ft and is tied up in Poole Quay in Dorset.

The stylish vessel is one of the most high-end yachts in the world and has its own infinity pool and sundeck jacuzzi.

A luxurious superyacht worth an astonishing £140million has appeared at Poole Quay, in Dorset, this week

The superyacht (pictured out at sea) is one of the most high-end yachts in the world and has become a major attraction

The yacht, which is called ‘Here Comes The Sun’, has become a huge source of excitement for interested onlookers

The Dutch-built superyacht boasts a helicopter pad, a pool, a jacuzzi and also an indoor cinema across five decks

It is currently owned by Russian oil baron Alexander Dzhaparidze, who is worth an estimated £1billion.

It is not known who is on board the enormous boat but it has been confirmed that it is being used to allow them to self-isolate.

The yacht has a number of spectacular features including a large beach club area in the stern and an indoor cinema.

There is space for up to 12 guests in the vessel’s ten rooms, which also includes a spectacular master suite.

Elsewhere there are three VIP staterooms, two double cabins and four twin cabins.

It has a top speed of 17 knots – around 20mph.

The yacht is currently owned by Russian oil baron Alexander Dzhaparidze, who is worth an estimated £1billion

The yacht is 272ft tall and the vessel has enough space for up to 12 guests, across 10 rooms on the luxury boat

The superyacht is three years old – it dates back to 2017 and it was built in Holland by a specialist firm

The vessel dates back to 2017 when it was built by specialist firm Amels Holland at their yard in Vlissingen, Holland.

It was purchased later that same year after it was showcased at both the Monaco Yacht Show and the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Its interior is the work of renowned designer Tim Heywood and covers five decks.

The vessel is attracting a huge amount of attention from passers-by in Poole Quay – due to it dwarfing every other boat in the area.

The yacht has been a huge source of interest to passers-by, many of whom have stopped to take pictures of the vessel 

Here Comes The Sun had an asking price of £138m when she was sold last year – the cost of chartering her is unknown

Here Comes The Sun is available for charter, although the cost of chartering her is not listed.

She last sold in December last year when there was an asking price of £138m (Euro 155m).

A spokesman for Poole Quay said: ‘The boat arrived yesterday so we can confirm it is here.

‘Those on board are self-isolating but that is all we know at this time.’

 

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Son in his 40s held for attempted murder after ‘domestic incident’ leaves mum and man with multiple injuries – The Sun

A MAN in his 40s has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after his mum and a man in his 70s were found with multiple injuries inside a house in Wiltshire.

Emergency services were called to the house in Shalbourne, near Marlborough, at around 7.30pm last night.

A man in his 40s, from the Hampshire area, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder.

He remains in custody.

Police said the woman in her 60s victim is the mother of the suspect.

The woman and the male victim were a couple.

It's understood the male victim and the suspect were not blood relatives.

Detective Inspector Mark Kent, of Wiltshire Police, said: "We can confirm that the man currently in custody is known to the two victims and this is being treated as a domestic incident.

"We understand this news will undoubtedly cause concern at a time when there are high levels of anxiety within our communities.

"Please be reassured that there is no wider risk to the public and we are conducting extensive inquiries today in relation to this incident.

"People living in the local area are likely to see a heightened police presence today as we progress with our inquiries."

The woman was taken to Southampton Hospital with serious head injuries and is in a critical but stable condition.

The man is being treated at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon and is in a serious but stable condition.

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12-year-old Belgian girl becomes Europe’s youngest known coronavirus death

A 12-year-old girl has died in Belgium after testing positive for COVID-19 — making her Europe’s youngest known victim, officials announced Tuesday.

The girl — who was not identified — died Monday, Belgium’s crisis-center coronavirus spokesman Emmanuel Andre revealed, saying the loss “shook us.”

Andre called it “an emotionally difficult moment, because it involves a child” and said it has “also upset the medical and scientific community.”

“We are thinking of her family and friends. It is an event that is very rare, but one which upsets us greatly,” Andre said.

The girl had had a fever for three days before her death, and tested positive for COVID-19, said another spokesman, Steven Van Gucht, according to Agence France-Presse.

No other details were given about her case, including whether she had any other underlying health problems.

The girl was one of 98 deaths in the country over the previous 24 hours, and the first child to succumb there, officials said, with the official death toll now 705.

Andre said that the disease was expected to reach its peak in coming days leaving them “close to saturation point at our hospitals.”

News of the 12-year-old girl’s death comes a day after a 14-year-old boy in Portugal, Vitor Godinho, died after testing positive.

Last week, a 16-year-old Parisian girl only identified as Julie A died despite having no underlying health problems.

With Post wires

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Statistics reveal what we know about the first UK coronavirus victims

What we know about the first UK coronavirus victims: 73% of the original 108 people to die were over 75 and men account for six out of 10 fatalities in England and Wales

  • Statistics including people who die outside of hospital are now being published
  • Figures show elderly and male patients make up most UK COVID-19 deaths
  • Records will now show everyone who has virus mentioned on death certificate 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Three quarters of the UK’s first coronavirus fatalities were over the age of 75, according to official statistics. 

Details of the first 108 people to die from COVID-19 in England and Wales have emerged today in figures revealing deaths outside of NHS hospitals for the first time.

They show that 59 per cent of the victims up to March 20 were male, a total of 64 out of 108, while 44 women died.

Only one person under the age of 44 was counted among the fatalities and 73 per cent (79 people) were over the age of 75.

The numbers, published by the Government’s Office for National Statistics, revealed that the true death toll of the virus may be 24 per cent higher than NHS data shows.

The ONS recorded 210 deaths up to and including March 20 in England and Wales, during which time the Department of Health tallied only 170.

The higher figure includes anyone who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate, whether it was a direct cause of death or not. Some may not have even been tested. 

There are now at least 1,408 people dead in the UK because of coronavirus and more than 22,000 people have tested positive since the outbreak began in late February. 

ONS’s figures, which don’t include Scotland or Northern Ireland, have a lag of 11 days because of how long it takes to official register deaths, meaning huge spikes in its data can be expected in the coming weeks as it catches up with the devastating fortnight the UK has just experienced. 

By March 20, ONS statistics revealed today, coronavirus had become a factor in one in every 100 deaths happening in England and Wales

An ambulance is pictured outside the ExCeL conference centre in London, which has been transformed into a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients

A worker is pictured disinfecting a railing in the east London Docklands area

The NHS Nightingale Hospital in Newham, East London, has been put together in a matter of days and will open this week with facilities for at least 500 seriously ill COVID-19 patients

Statistics show the majority of the first coronavirus deaths in England and Wales were among people aged over 85.

There were 45 deaths among over-85s; 34 deaths in the 75-84 age group; 21 deaths between 65 and 74; seven for 45 to 64-year-olds; and one between 15 and 44. There were none among children. 

The single hardest-hit age group was men over 85, among whom there were 27 fatalities. There were 20 among men aged 75-84, and 18 for female over-85s.

The true death toll of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK could be 24 per cent higher than NHS figures show, according to statistics released today.

Patients who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificates numbered 210 in England and Wales up to March 20, the Office for National Statistics revealed.

This was 24 per cent higher than the 170 deaths recorded by NHS England and Public Health Wales during the same time frame. 

If the ratio has stayed true since that time, the true current number of fatalities could be around 1,739 instead of the official 1,408.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has launched a new data series adding in the numbers of people who have died with or after having COVID-19 in the community, including those who died in care homes or their own houses.

Coronavirus was not necessarily the cause of death for every one of the patients, but was believed to have been a factor.  

The data does not include Scotland or Northern Ireland – up to March 20, eight people had died in the those countries (six in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland), suggesting the true figure could have been 10.

Anyone who has the virus – for which at least 22,141 people have tested positive in the UK – mentioned on their death certificate will be included in the weekly statistics.

This adds to the daily updates coming from NHS hospitals around the country where adults of all ages are dying in intensive care units. 

London had the most deaths of any region, with 44 people succumbing to the disease – 41 per cent of the national total.

Second worst hit was South East England, with 19 deaths – the first recorded hospital death was in a woman in the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

And there were 16 deaths in the East of England. The North East and South West of England only recorded one death each, and just two happened in Wales.

The ONS’s statistics add an element of detail not provided in current figures from the NHS and Department of Health by keeping a running tally of people’s ages, sexes and location.

It also includes deaths which happen outside of hospitals, but does not clearly divide the data.

Commenting on the release, Professor David Leon, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: ‘What ONS has done is important as it starts to provide a more complete picture of the impact of COVID-19 on mortality. 

‘However, deaths which have COVID-19 as a cause on the death certificate that occur among people who were not tested for COVID-19 may misclassify them as such. 

‘On the other hand untested deaths that were precipitated by COVID-19 may still go unrecognised.’

Professor Keith Neal, from the University of Nottingham, added: ‘I support the reporting of new figures but there is now a danger of the death figures becoming increasingly difficult to interpret. 

‘We now have figures for the UK, England and Wales and the four separate administrations.’

Statistics from NHS hospitals and public health authorities show that 1,284 out of the UK’s 1,408 recorded COVID-19 deaths have happened in England.

In addition, 62 people have died in Wales, 41 in Scotland and 21 in Northern Ireland.

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From chest pain to headaches – how to tell if symptoms are coronavirus or anxiety – The Sun

THE unprecedented coronavirus outbreak means that life has dramatically changed for all of us for a while.

And as the deadly bug continues to sweep across the globe, many people have found themselves stuck in a cycle of anxiety and fear.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

In particular, as your body reacts to the uncertainty around you – you may find yourself experiencing a tightness in your chest and shortness of breath.

However, these are also two symptoms of coronavirus – which has infected over 22,000 people in the UK.

As Dr Sarah Jarvis, clinical director of Patientaccess.com, says: "Some of the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks – feeling short of breath, palpitations, dizziness etc – are sometimes also seen in coronavirus."

And this overlap can make it hard to determine what is really going on in the moment when you’re spiralling.

Here, we take you through how you can tell whether what you're experiencing is coronavirus or anxiety.

Anxiety vs Covid-19 symptoms

Doctors have revealed that shortness of breath, chest tightness, loss of appetite and diarrhoea are a few symptoms of coronavirus that you may also develop if you are experiencing anxiety.

In particular, according to the World Health Organisation, if you have coronavirus your chest may begin to feel tight or you begin to feel as though you cannot breathe deeply enough to get a good breath.

Despite this, this is something those experiencing a panic attack or anxiety may also experience.

However, there are three key things you can do that’ll help you differentiate coronavirus symptoms from anxiety.

1. Focus on your breathing

Dr Jarvis recommends people take a few minutes to check in with themselves and try to steady their breathing.

She says: "The symptoms of panic attacks tend to settle if you concentrate on your breathing and take very slow breaths.

"Try tummy breathing – put one hand on your chest and the other on your tummy. You should aim to breathe quietly by moving your tummy with your chest moving very little."

Concentrate on your breathing and take very slow breaths

If you were able to calm yourself down and find a steady breathing pattern within those few minutes, you may not be dealing with the coronavirus.

On the other hand, shortness of breath associated with the Covid-19 infection is progressive in nature and can become life-threatening over a period of hours to days without medical care.

In coronavirus, if you're experiencing severe shortness of breath you may also have persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face.

2. Talk it out

Another quick self-check you can do is to try talking, said Anthony Freire, the clinical director and founder of the Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling in New York.

Freire, whose doctor believed he contracted the virus and has since recovered, said if you're able to talk while experiencing shortness of breath then it's more likely to be anxiety.

He told the Huffington Post: "They feel the same. Closed throat, can’t get enough air, shallow breathing.

"If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, call someone. If you’re able to speak and they understand you, and you aren’t gasping for air, then it’s most likely anxiety.”

3. Check if you have a fever

Another way to differentiate between Covid-19 and anxiety is by checking whether you have a high temperature – as this is a key symptom of coronavirus and is unusual during anxiety attacks.

The NHS say you don’t need to fixate on a number, but know it’s really not a fever until your temperature reaches at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) for children and adults.

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They say you can tell if you have a fever when you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.

Dr Jarvis adds: "Panic attacks don’t come with fever and virtually never with a persistent cough – these are the classic symptoms of coronavirus. "Other common symptoms include headache and muscle aches and pains, which are uncommon with coronavirus."

How to handle anxiety around coronavirus

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) CEO Simon Gunning has revealed there are some simple steps you can take during this uncertain time to keep on top things and stay mentally fit and healthy while at home.

✓ Stay connected

Make sure you stay connected to your mates as best as you can.

Even if you’re stuck at home, in our interconnected world there are loads of ways to chat to your friends and family, without seeing them IRL.

Play FIFA with your mates. Facetime your mum (she’ll love that).

Hell, organise a Google hangout and have a beer if you want to recreate a pub.

Connecting and checking in with each other is more important than ever and can help ease the stress caused by all the news.

BUT remember you can always mute WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups if you’re finding them too overwhelming.

✓ Switch off

It’s OK to turn off social media for a bit.

It’s very tempting to watch and watch (and then watch some more) all the information that’s coming in. But don’t do that to yourself.

Avoid news that could make you feel anxious and choose the stuff that’s practical and helpful.

If it helps check the news and decide on specific times you’re going to do it (9am and 5pm, for example).

Let out your feelings

Having that realisation that you’re feeling overwhelmed or annoyed at trivial things? Totally normal.

Finding it tricky to adjust to an unfamiliar way of living? Yep, normal.

Letting family or friends know you’re finding times tough? Well, that should be normal too.

In fact it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed or upset about a lot of this.

Keep up your daily routine

Strike a balance between having a routine and making sure each day has some variety.

It can be hard to begin to accept this new normal.

If you’re finding the change difficult, it might help to build yourself a new routine – getting up, eating and doing familiar things at set times can help you to feel a little more in control of the situation.

But also change it up a little. Learn simple daily physical exercises you can perform at home.

Keep a To-Do list so you can see you’re achieving something.

Go for a run. Skype your mates. Even doing mundane things like cleaning the oven can help.

All of it will help to keep you active and reduce boredom (apart from the oven thing).

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Spain sees its highest number of deaths from coronavirus in a day

Spain sees its highest number of deaths and new coronavirus infections yet: 849 people die and cases rise 9,222 in one day

  • The 849 new deaths bring the total death toll in Spain from 7,340 to 8,189 
  • Total number of infections rose by 9,222, bringing figure from 85,195 to 94,417
  • The new cases included 3,419 in hard-hit Madrid region and 2,616 in Catalonia 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Spain has suffered its darkest day yet of the coronavirus outbreak as the number of new deaths and cases both rose by record amounts.

The country registered 849 new deaths between Monday and Tuesday, taking its total from 7,340 to 8,189 – higher than the 838 it suffered overnight Sunday, which was its previous worst day.

Meanwhile the number of confirmed cases rose by 9,222, taking the total from 85,195 to 94,417. That figure tops the roughly 8,200 cases the country logged between Wednesday and Thursday last week. 

The rise in cases marks a 10.8 per cent increase, putting an end to several days of falling rates and crushing hopes that an end to the contagion might be in sight. 

The 9,222 new cases included 3,419 in the Madrid region, which accounts for nearly half the total deaths, and another 2,616 in Catalonia, the government said.

Spain has already become the third country in the world to overtake China’s total infection count, after Italy and the United States also did so. 

The government in Madrid is enforcing even tighter stay-at-home rules this week despite the resulting economic standstill. 

Authorities are imposing a two-week halt to all non-essential economic activity, which came into effect on Monday.  

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards have already applied for unemployment subsidies since the confinement measures began in mid-March. 

A 200-billion euro aid package, much of it from public funds, has been rolled out to help workers and companies cushion the drop in production. 

Hospitals are seeing scores of medical workers falling ill and requiring quarantine, while the arrival of protective gear is suffering delays. 

Crews of workers and soldiers have been frantically building more field hospitals in the capital and surrounding towns. 

The Madrid region is among six of Spain’s 17 regions at their limit of ICU beds. Three more, according to officials, are close to it.  

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